Proposal: Revision of policy surrounding 3rd party and non-free software

Matthew Miller mattdm at
Wed Jan 22 15:39:48 UTC 2014

On Tue, Jan 21, 2014 at 08:43:52PM -0800, Adam Williamson wrote:
> So...I'm feeling like we have this slightly surreal experience that,
> just as people are starting to feel good about Fedora and we're putting
> out solid products that are well received, we're implementing a whole
> bunch of radical plans to 'fix the problem' that already appears to be
> being fixed, the old-fashioned way, by just *building good software and
> telling people about it*.
> appears to have stopped being
> updated in the middle of last year, but I'd sure be interested to see
> the F20 numbers.

I wish we had better metrics in general -- even when those are updated,
they're not the best measures.

I agree based on subjective feedback that F20 is very well recieved,
although perhaps in a quiet, slow-and-steady way rather than making a
splash. (And that's fine.) I know, though, that we are not as relevant as we
could be in cloud computing (which, despite the hype, is a real thing vital
to our future; I can give that pitch separately). Where we do have numbers,
they are sad. And I know anecdotally from my former academic sysadmin life
that we have a big under-served audience for some server uses of Fedora.
Finally, also from that experience, I know it's important to be relevant and
exciting to high school and college students -- that's Fedora's future.

I know some people believe that a works-like-a-mac experience is necessary
for bringing in the developer and modern admin/ops audience that is driving
the cloud computing boom; I'm going to bracket that as a "maybe...", but
otherwise, this particular initiative isn't very relevant for the first two
of those areas. That leaves the student / new excitement and growth
audience. Here, "Ubuntu plays my mp3s!" and "it just works" is certainly
something we hear, but I also know that our strong free software stance is
appealing as well. (Other people have already made that point more
articulately than I can, but I'll just add that it's a reason I've stayed
with Fedora over the years.)

Overall, I'm unconvinced that focusing on enabling proprietary software
would be a net win _in the desktop area alone_, and I think that depending
on the implementation there's a serious risk of a net loss to the project as
a whole. (And to be clear, I'm speaking with concern for Fedora overall, not
with my Cloud SIG hat on.)

So, what was my point here? I didn't really mean to write a long message
(but am too lazy to write a short one), but I wanted to respond to the "why
are we messing with things?" question. Fedora *is* doing well and is in a
good place, but we can do better and there are areas that we do need some
changes in order to grow into and better support. I don't see _this_ as very
important to that.

Matthew Miller    --   Fedora Project    --    <mattdm at>

More information about the advisory-board mailing list